Melanie Leydon, a UAA student majoring in engineering, turned in her application for mayor of Anchorage on June 4. She will be running with former UAA student and mayoral candidate Nick Moe as her campaign manager.
Though Leydon’s campaign hopes to win the election, being elected is not the only goal. Leydon is running in order to ensure that the issues important to her and to other young voters are addressed by all the potential candidates.
“The whole point of me running is not really to win, but to bring up the issues that matter, to bring up all the issues and make sure that every candidate talks about it,” Leydon said. “I want them to answer the questions, not talk around it. I want them to have an answer.”
Leydon has several questions she hopes ask her opponents on the campaign trail.
“I really want to ask the other candidates some tough questions, and I want to hear what they have to say,” Leydon said.
Leydon’s own campaign will focus on sustainability, mass transit and the structure of Anchorage.
“The mass-transit system needs to change,” she said. “I’m a firm believer in modeling the system correctly. Make it more efficient and more on time, put out more buses. The profits and the paying for itself will follow.
Leydon said that Anchorage could be the center of a transit commuting system. Part of that would include bus routes out to Girdwood.
Possibly the largest hurdles that Leydon faces with the upcoming campaign are her age and her gender. It isn’t unheard of for young candidates to win elections, but usually those candidates are males running for election in a smaller community.
“Being 19 is definitely going to be in the way of running, but I hope I can change some minds,” Leydon said. “I’m going to try and obtain elder votes and respect through my debates and talking about issues that matter, the personable approach.”
Anchorage has previously had the opportunity to vote for a young mayor; in the last mayoral race, Moe gained 3 percent of the vote. Before Moe came David Dunsmore, who ran for mayor in 2003 when he was 18 years old.